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The Evolutionary Emergence of LanguageEvidence and Inference$
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Rudolf Botha and Martin Everaert

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654840.001.0001

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What is special about the human language faculty and how did it get that way?

What is special about the human language faculty and how did it get that way?

Chapter:
(p.18) 2 What is special about the human language faculty and how did it get that way?
Source:
The Evolutionary Emergence of Language
Author(s):

Stephen R. Anderson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654840.003.0002

This chapter addresses two basic questions. The first is: ‘How was the human language faculty shaped evolutionarily?’ It suggests that this faculty, being a consequence of the biological nature of humans, probably arose through natural selection. The second basic question is: ‘How do we identify the properties that we should attribute to the human language faculty?’ Identifying these properties is more difficult than dealing with the corresponding problem in the study of most other biological traits. It discusses in detail the potential and the limitations of the various means — e.g., poverty-of-the-stimulus arguments — by which these properties could be identified.

Keywords:   linguistics, human language faculty, natural selection

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